The Top Metros for Remote Workers, Housing Vacancies, and Other Community Indicators Now in Emsi Developer

February 14, 2019 by Emsi Burning Glass

The Top Metros for Remote Workers, Housing Vacancies, and Other Community Indicators Now in Emsi Developer

Do you know how your metro area stacks up on the percentage of remote workers, housing vacancies, and share of foreign-born population? The American Community Survey is a great resource to find this data, and Emsi is pleased to bring community indicators from ACS into Emsi Developer, our labor analytics platform for economic and workforce development.

Value of pairing Emsi and ACS data

Like many government data tools, the ACS provides an impressive array of data that enable researchers to learn more about their communities. On the other hand, like many government data tools, navigating the ACS search tool can be daunting and cumbersome, even for the most seasoned researcher.

By implementing ACS data into Emsi Developer, we have streamlined another source of information so that you can make data-informed decisions about your community. The list below includes just a brief summary of the value you gain as a researcher pairing Emsi and ACS data.

  • Tired of hunting down which data go with which table in ACS? Was it DP03 or DP04? Has the ACS search tool previously been too daunting for you to find the information you need? Stop waiting for your ACS data request to the one ACS-guru you know. It’s all here in Emsi Developer now.

  • Take the guesswork of how your region compares to peers on various data points like median household income, housing vacancy rates, and mean commute time. Find out exactly where your community ranks in these indicators across your MSA, state, or nation.

  • Add another layer to your research capabilities. You have already used Emsi data to showcase your region’s and industry’s workforce. Now you can bolster your arsenal of reliable, relevant data with community indicators.

Below are three categories of community indicators to showcase your region:

Economic indicators: remote workers and commute times—a tradeoff?

As the proliferation of technology continues, being able to work anywhere across the world has caused a rise in the popularity of remote work. Removing the stress of work-related travel, like super commutes seen in certain regions of the country, benefits both employers and employees. For some, the perks of working from home are too good to pass up. Here are the 11 metros that have a double digit percentage share of its workforce working from home:

Interestingly, these MSA’s do not tend to have above-average commute times. What do they have in common? They tend to be medium sized metros (Boulder, population 326,000) or micropolitans (population between 10,000 and 50,000).

On the other hand, half of the top ten metros in terms of commute time have populations greater than 750,000. Perhaps increasingly flexible work schedules and technology that allows employees to work from anywhere connected to the internet has people trading in the stress of commuting in a major metro for life in smaller metros.

Ultimately, these types of data can help you better understand workforce trends when meeting with current or prospective employers in your community. In the instance of Boulder, CO, a highly concentrated tech workforce likely explains the high share of remote workers.

In a smaller metro with high commute times, like Shelton, WA, the average working resident drives over 30 minutes to work. These workers would likely welcome employers to the region that would help cut their commute.

Social – Target Populations

Every workforce board has target populations. Now with ACS integrated in Emsi Developer you can quickly access the numeric count and percentage share of your region’s population that fall under the following categories:

  • Veterans

  • Foreign-born

  • Disabled

  • Family types (married, single parents, nonfamily)

With just a few clicks, you have all these data about your region and others to quickly quantify the share of these target populations and easily distribute to stakeholders, partners, or business clients. These are also frequently used data in RFP’s. Here is a sampling of the top ten metros in terms of percentage share of population that is foreign-born:

Perhaps to no surprise, these metros overwhelmingly represent the Southwest United States and California. The Golden State alone holds five of the top ten spots. Miami, FL, a common entry point for immigrants, tops the list.

Housing—what do vacancy rates say about your community?

One measure that can help you gauge the health of your community’s real estate and renting market includes vacancy rates. Higher vacancy rates that properties are not selling or renting well. Conversely, a low vacancy rate could indicate a housing crisis in a region. Low vacancy rates also are a leading indicator of rents and housing prices increasing. See below for a list of the top and bottom ten major metros in terms of vacancy rates.

What is the ACS?

ACS data, now available in Emsi Developer, come directly from the American Community Survey database, American FactFinder. According to the ACS website, “Every year, the U.S. Census Bureau contacts over 3.5 million households across the country to participate in the American Community Survey. Information from the survey generates data that help determine how more than $675 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year. It is the premier source for detailed population and housing information about our nation.”

The data specifically now found in Emsi Developer stem from some of the Data Profile (DP) ACS tables. We use the five-year estimates , including 60 months of collected data, because it is the largest and more reliable data set from ACS. Speaking of most reliable, the more granular your geography becomes, the greater the likelihood of needing five-year estimates to have an accurate measurement. In addition, five-year estimates are available for all areas across the nation.

We understand that your time is valuable. That is why we are here—to provide you accurate, up-to-data information so that you can make data-informed decisions about your community. Receive a last-minute ACS request in the late afternoon? Don’t sweat the prospect of stretching the workday attempting to cobble together data through a cumbersome search tool. Emsi has the data you need.

Don’t see your community listed above? Want to get full access to this suite of data? Contact us. We also have a stellar consulting team that are happy to help answer any data-related questions you might have that can’t be found directly in Emsi or ACS data. Contact Hector Acosta for more information.